People struggling with mental health issues in Sacramento’s Central City will have a new place to get help with meeting basic needs, reconnecting to community, getting a job and finding housing with the opening of a county CORE mental health center at X and 14th streets.
The new center, which opens Oct. 6, is airy and brightly painted with murals inside and out. The fenced outdoor space includes kennels for dogs, and tables and chairs for socializing. The indoor space includes shower and laundry facilities.
Outreach workers from non-profit operator Hope Cooperative will invite people experiencing homelessness on the surrounding blocks inside for snacks and community, and work to connect them with vital services at the same time, said Janelle Surrey-Miller, Director of Program Services.
“It’s definitely a place where people can start getting better,” she said, adding, “We’re targeting folks in the area. We’re not looking at bringing in people from anywhere else.”
The X Street CORE is one of 11 such facilities county-wide and will be run by the non-profit Hope Cooperative on behalf of Sacramento County. Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg pushed for the inclusion of a CORE center near downtown in the City/County partnership agreement to address homelessness that was adopted last year.
Steinberg joined Sacramento County Supervisor Rich Desmond and fellow City Councilmembers Katie Valenzuela and Caity Maple Oct. 5 to celebrate the CORE Center’s opening in a former medical office building that had sat vacant for about two years.
“What this represents — no pun intended — is hope,” Steinberg said. “For the outreach workers, for DCR (Department of Community Response), and county mental health workers, it’s an answer to the question that must always be answered: Where do you bring people? Where can people get help? Where can people get the wrap around services? Where can people get eligible for benefits, mental health care and substance abuse care? For shelter and housing?”
CORE facilities offer outpatient mental health care services to people enrolled in county behavioral health services. Clients can receive help keeping or finding housing, including security deposits, credit repair, moving expenses, and utility payments, among other benefits.
An on-site Community Wellness Center is open to anyone on a walk-in basis and offers groups focused on building connections, employment, and education skills. Participants in the Wellness Center can be linked to eligible mental health services.
The concept of the CORE Center grew out of a similar facility that Hope Cooperative has operated for 12 years on Marconi Avenue in the unincorporated county. Hope Cooperative is also within days of opening a CORE Center on Howe Avenue near Sacramento State University that will serve clients in East Sacramento.
“The connection to services is outstanding with this model,” said Hope Cooperative CEO Erin Johansen. “People remain connected, they show up for more of their appointments, they have better medication compliance, and they are more stable in housing.”